After enjoying a dominant first half of the season in the South Atlantic League, Jhoulys Chacin was presented with a new challenge upon his promotion to the California League. On Tuesday, he aced his first test.
Chacin scattered five hits and struck out eight over eight innings in his Cal League debut as the Modesto Nuts blanked the Stockton Ports, 3-0, at Banner Island Ballpark.
The 20-year-old right-hander allowed a single in each of the first two innings before retiring 16 consecutive batters. He yielded a pair of two-out singles in the seventh and another in the eighth before his night was over.
Chacin (1-0) went 10-1 with two complete games and a 1.86 ERA in 16 starts at Class A Asheville. He led the league in wins, innings pitched (111 1/3) and strikeouts (98), held opponents to a .205 batting average and started for the South Division at the SAL All-Star.
After signing with the Rockies as a non-drafted free agent, Chacin went 6-5 with a 3.13 ERA in 16 starts for Rookie-level Casper Rockies and was named a 2007 Pioneer League All-Star. He recorded a career-high 13 strikeouts over seven innings last Aug. 17 against Billings.
Andrew Johnston tossed a perfect ninth for his league-leading 16th save.
Stockton's Henry Rodriguez matched Chacin for 5 1/3 innings, striking out a career-high 11 while allowing just one hit and one walk. In his last three starts, the 21-year-old right-hander has given up two earned runs over 16 innings.
The Nuts (6-6) did all their damage in the seventh as Mike McKenry and Victor Ferrante opened the inning with back-to-back walks and scored on Nick Haley's trouble. Haley came home on a double-play grounder.
Nelson Robledo went 2-for-4 for Modesto.
Ports reliever Jose Rojas (0-2) surrendered three runs on two hits and two walks while recording five outs.
Mike Massaro had two hits of the five hits for Stockton (6-6).